Sunday, November 28, 2010

Naked Gun star Leslie Neilsen dead at 84

Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen, AKA Frank Drebin, has died from complications of pneumonia. And the world has become a little less funny because of it. He was 84.

The first time I became aware of Nielsen was in the movie Airplane. His "And stop calling me Shirley" sketch had me in stiches. I'd never heard anything so funny. I was also a fan of his Frank Drebin character long before he appeared in The Naked Gun films. The TV series that inspired the films, Police Squad, was a favourite of mine during it's short run.

Sure Nielsen made some bad films in his time. What actor hasn't? But the one's that worked were pure gold.

Saskatchewan-born Nielsen first popped up on early 1950s TV. He received his first big film break playing Commander J.J. Adams in the 1956 sci-fi flick Forbidden Planet. During the next few decades he established himself as a reliable character actor who graced myriad TV dramas and movies like the Poseidon Adventure. Airplane was his first comedy.

We in The Basement toast you, Mr. Nielsen. We're sure you are making everyone laugh wherever it is you are now.

Here's some of the funniest moments from The Naked Gun movies.

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